On April 18, the third and final day of Coachella, Sly Stone was slated to make a 7 p.m. performance although rumors were flying that he wasn’t even present. A few minutes before Sly was supposed to take the stage, someone came out announced that he would perform shortly, but an opening act would take the stage first – Little Boots. Little Boots was originally scheduled to perform after Sly Stone at 8:15 p.m., so mxdwn approached the soundboard man to get an answer as to what exactly was going on. At that point, Sly Stone was yet to be located and we were informed that Sly might take the stage later that night. The soundboard man proved to be correct when later that evening, at the end of Thom Yorke’s set, an announcement was made that Sly Stone would be performing at 10:45 p.m. in the Mojave Tent.
According to Gustavo Turner of LA Weekly, Sly Stone’s performance was a sad one at best. In his blog, Gustavo wrote, “Truly awful on the part of the organizers (if they knew what they were getting), and especially awful on the part of Sly’s current friends and handlers who let him go onstage like a ranting, raving shell of what he used to be. Many people in the crowd were angry, a few were laughing at poor Sly, but most were appalled at the spectacle.” He goes on to explain that Sly would stop songs in the middle of the performance and even went so far as to speak to the crowd at length about his legal problems.
Ben Greenman of The New Yorker witnessed Sly Stone’s disaster of a performance via a live web feed. In his account, Greenman wrote that “Sly thwarted plans to start the first song and addressed the crowd instead, telling them that he was kidnapped and that he has a lawsuit pending against his former manager Jerry Goldstein, who ‘stole so much money at the same time I made so much money that I didn’t know I was being stolen from.’ He explained that for the last year he has been living in motels, but that now he can buy new shoes. He showed his shoes. To say that he seemed high was an understatement.”
The accounts of Sly Stone’s performance hint at the question as to why Sly was kept on stage to perform when he seemed to be in such an awful state. His band was just as confused as the audience and didn’t seem sure how to handle is abandonment of practically every song. His performance came to an end with “I Want To Take You Higher” as he walked into the crowd, and then left.